In 2012, consumers considered 10 pieces of content before making a purchase. Here's how to make sure your content is effective.
Content marketing has been going through a growth explosion-- with many companies creating an entire team devoted to it. And rightly so. Did you know that in 2012 buyers considered 10 pieces of content before making a purchase? That's up from five pieces just a few short years ago.
Last week, 1700 content marketers from around the globe converged in Cleveland, OH (home of Content Marketing Institute and host company) for Content Marketing World. We sent our director of content marketing to cover the beat and see what new tools and tactics she could bring back for our team.
One of the common struggles that many of the content marketers in attendance shared was the inability to measure and prove the worth of their content efforts. In fact, only about 15 percent currently measure and most aren't doing it very well.
Consider this: How many times have you asked, "So what's the return on investment on that new whitepaper/infographic/blog post?" only to be met with blank stares or the honest, "I don't know, we can't/don't measure it." I know I have.
I'm not faulting the content marketers here. What I am saying though, is that many of us have been creating content for years without really setting up a good process to measure and prove it's value.
We've been satisfied that it drives organic traffic, helps with search engine optimization and of course, helps our customers and prospects. But there's so much more we can measure and learn from.
Enter Jon Wuebben, CEO of ContentLaunch & Author of Content is Currency and his Content Marketing World presentation, Building Your Content Marketing Measurement Program from the Ground Up. Wuebben kicked off his presentation by good-heartedly sharing that he got into marketing because he wasn't so hot with numbers; even confessing he got an F in Calculus (which he retook and got a C+).
So even if your team isn't the strongest in the numbers department, you can still measure your efforts with the six magic metrics Wuebben spoke about:
1. Consumption--Page views, video views, document views, downloads and social chatter.
2. Sharing--Like, shares, tweets, +1s and pins, forwards, number of inbound links
Tip: Make sure all your content is shareable. What's the point of creating killer content if no one sees it?
3. Lead Generation--Form completion and downloads, email and blog subscriptions, blog comments and your conversion rate
4. Sales--Look at both online and offline sales that are influenced by content.
5. Thought Leadership--Requests for guest blog posts.
6. Loyalty--Advocates, referrals and word of mouth.
Many of these measurements are readily available in free tools like Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your email service provider, content management systems (like WordPress), as well as your own internal data from sources like your CRM system (if you're using one).
And, if you've put the cart before the horse and don't have these systems in place, you can simply backtrack and set up your programs. Better to take the time and put something in place so you can accurately see where you are and measure your progression and evolution. You'll be better informed about how to spend your content efforts (For example, which types of content perform the best for you? Which keywords? Which platforms?), you'll be able to create more of what works to help drive the bottom line for your company and not only say your content is working, but prove it.
Have you taken steps to measure your content marketing efforts? Share your successes and challenges in the comments.
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick